French book examines why black sprinters dominate the Olympics

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Ever since American runner Jesse Owens took the 1936 Berlin Olympics by storm, black athletes have generally reigned supreme in the sprints at international tournaments.

The last 25 holders of the world record for 100metres sprint have all been black and data compiled in 2007 revealed that 494 out of the 500 best ever 100 metre sprint times are held by athletes primarily of West African origin. The line up for Sunday’s 100 metre final in London’s Olympic stadium once again demonstrates the superiority of black sprinters. Despite glaring statistics, the topic was somewhat of a taboo subject until recent years. Most scientists, authors and journalists avoided any quest for an explication out of a fear of being accused of racial stereotyping.

But, in 2010, French author Jean-Philippe Leclaire, a former editor in chief of popular French sports newspaperL’Equipe, took it upon himself to examine the evidence. Inspired by the emergence of white French sprinter Christophe Lemaitre and by the work of American author Jon Entine and his book “Taboo: Why black athletes dominate sport and why we’re afraid to talk about it”, Leclaire decided to dedicate a year and a half of his life to breaking that taboo.

View the original article here: French book examines why black sprinters dominate the Olympics

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